Anne Applebaum
Anne Applebaum
Gulag:  A History
ISBN: 1400034094
Gulag: A History
—from the publisher's website

The Gulag - the vast array of Soviet concentration camp —was a system of repression and punishment whose rationalized evil and institutionalized inhumanity were rivaled only by the Holocaust.

The Gulag entered the world’s historical consciousness in 1972, with the publication of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s epic oral history of the Soviet camps, The Gulag Archipelago. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, dozens of memoirs and new studies covering aspects of that system have been published in Russia and the West. Using these new resources as well as her own original historical research, Anne Applebaum has now undertaken, for the first time, a fully documented history of the Soviet camp system, from its origins in the Russian Revolution to its collapse in the era of glasnost. It is an epic feat of investigation and moral reckoning that places the Gulag where it belongs: at the center of our understanding of the troubled history of the twentieth century.

Anne Applebaum first lays out the chronological history of the camps and the logic behind their creation, enlargement, and maintenance. The Gulag was first put in place in 1918 after the Russian Revolution. In 1929, Stalin personally decided to expand the camp system, both to use forced labor to accelerate Soviet industrialization and to exploit the natural resources of the country’s barely habitable far northern regions. By the end of the 1930s, labor camps could be found in all twelve of the Soviet Union’s time zones. The system continued to expand throughout the war years, reaching its height only in the early 1950s. From 1929 until the death of Stalin in 1953, some 18 million people passed through this massive system. Of these 18 million, it is estimated that 4.5 million never returned.

But the Gulag was not just an economic institution. It also became, over time, a country within a country, almost a separate civilization, with its own laws, customs, literature, folklore, slang, and morality. Topic by topic, Anne Applebaum also examines how life was lived within this shadow country: how prisoners worked, how they ate, where they lived, how they died, how they survived. She examines their guards and their jailers, the horrors of transportation in empty cattle cars, the strange nature of Soviet arrests and trials, the impact of World War II, the relations between different national and religious groups, and the escapes, as well as the extraordinary rebellions that took place in the 1950s. She concludes by examining the disturbing question why the Gulag has remained relatively obscure, in the historical memory of both the former Soviet Union and the West. Gulag: A History will immediately be recognized as a landmark work of historical scholarship and an indelible contribution to the complex, ongoing, necessary quest for truth.

Video Clip Search is not available for this video.
TRANSCRIPT
Gulag: A History
Program Air Date: May 25, 2003

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Anne Applebaum, author of "Gulag: A History," at the end of your book, in the epilogue, you talk about a cruise that you had, or boat trip, back in 1998. Do you remember that?
ANNE APPLEBAUM, AUTHOR, "GULAG: A HISTORY": I remember it well.
LAMB:: Recount it for us. What were the circumstances?
APPLEBAUM:: It was actually -- it was an overnight ferry from the city of Archangelsk in the far north of Russia to the Solovetsky Islands. These islands were -- they were the site of the first -- really, the first camp of the gulag, the Soviet Union`s first major political camp that was actually run by the secret police. And I, of course, was going to see a concentration camp, but most of the people on the ship were there because it was a kind of pleasure cruise. It was -- the islands are very beautiful, and they were there to sort of have a good time.

And we were all assigned tables, and I was -- I sat next to -- I sat with a group of people who were from a city down the -- down the river. And they asked me -- you know, they found it very amusing that they had an American on the boat, and they said to me, What are you doing here? And I said, Well, I`m writing a book about Soviet concentration camps, and I`m going to see the Solovetsky Islands for that reason.

And there was a kind of dead silence and a real moment of unpleasantness as they said, you know -- you know, one of them said, Well, what do -- what do -- what business is it of yours? You know, why do you need -- why do you care about? I mean, This is -- this is our problem, not yours. And another person said -- one of the other ones said, Well, why don`t you write about something nice in our history? You know, We went to the moon and -- meaning "we," the Soviet Union, even though the Soviet no longer existed. And you foreigners always focus on the bad things.

One of the women said, No, you`re right. I think it`s an interesting thing that you`re doing and it`s worthwhile. And another one never said anything at all, just sat listening quietly as I tried to describe my trip. And it -- the reason I used this incident in the book is it struck me as very typical of the wide range of reactions, Russian -- contemporary Russian reactions to this kind of history. Some people become angry about it. Some people don`t want to know about it. A few people consider it important and wish they knew more. And most people would just rather not talk about it at all.
LAMB:: I think it was 1998 -- you say in that same chapter, that epilogue, that you speak Russian.
APPLEBAUM:: I do speak Russian.
LAMB:: How important was that or is that to you understanding this whole story?
APPLEBAUM:: Very. I mean, to all of the -- 90 percent of what`s written about it is written in Russian. All the archives are in Russian. I had to conduct interviews in Russian. It`s a -- it`s -- you know, to understand the nuances of it -- I mean, it may be that my Russian -- well, it was certainly enough to do that. But I mean, there -- it`s a very nuanced and complicated history. You would have to be able to speak to people about it.
LAMB:: You also say -- I don`t remember whether it was in this chapter or not -- that the Russians have never investigated that whole story, this whole story you`re writing about, never -- like the -- unlike the Nazis did, unlike the Germans did.
APPLEBAUM:: Well, they -- it`s complicated because there have been two moments in Russian history when they did talk about it publicly. One was right after Stalin died. There was a very brief moment when it was sort of half discussed, in the Khrushchev era, and then sort of quickly buried again after Khrushchev fell. Then, in the mid-1980s, when perestroika began, in the era -- in the era of glasnost, there began to be a public debate, as well. And Solzhenitsyn, who wrote the first great book on the Soviet camps, was published, and there was a great interest in the past. And that ended then very quickly. And by the time I was going to Russia, in the `90s, people had really lost interest in the subject.

And I think what is particularly important is that the -- there was no official interest in it. And when I compare it to the -- Germany after the war -- you know, Germany after the war held trials. There was a constant debate. Nowadays, there are museums. In Russia there`s none of that. There`s a sort of official silence. Occasionally, a little bit of money given to -- given to victims, but -- but there`s no -- there`s no real public acceptance of responsibility for what happened, and that is very different.
LAMB:: What does "gulag" mean?
APPLEBAUM:: It`s an acronym, and it means "main camp system," "main camp administrative system." It`s -- and it was -- it really, actually -- the word was popularized by Solzhenitsyn, who took the acronym, which describes the administrative body that ran the gulag, and used it to describe the camp system.
LAMB:: What was it?
APPLEBAUM:: The gulag -- the gulag was a system of concentration camps and the administration of camps. At its -- the most comprehensive count we have is something like 476 camps. Each one -- each camp, though, contained -- was a camp complex, could contain up to many thousands of smaller camps. It was a network of prison labor that stretched all across the Soviet Union.
LAMB:: What were the years that the gulag existed?
APPLEBAUM:: It really -- some form of it existed from 1918 until the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, but the really important years were from about 1929 until Stalin`s death in 1953. And those were the years when the gulag was a very important part of the Soviet economy and was -- contributed an enormous amount to the Soviet mentality. There were camps before that and there were camps after that, but they didn`t have quite the same significance.
LAMB:: Why did it start?
APPLEBAUM:: It started -- sort of it started as a -- for several reasons, but I suppose the most important reason was that Stalin was -- in 1929 was carrying out something called the five-year plan, which was an attempt to industrialize the Soviet Union very quickly. And there were -- one of the side effects of the five-year plan was that a great number of people were arrested, and there was a -- during a process called collectivization, when all the -- when the Soviet farms were made into state farms, peasants were made into state farms, many, many people arrested.

This meant that -- this meant that they had an enormous number of

prisoners. They wanted to industrialize. Stalin came up with -- really, probably came from Stalin -- came up with the idea that the camps -- that we could use prison labor to speed up industrialization. And it was a sort of -- it was a combination of both of those things.
LAMB:: Back in the back of the appendix, you have from the year 1930 until the year 1953 a list of the number of people that were in the system. And it`ll be hard for the audience to see that, but the biggest year was 1950 -- 2,561,000-plus. What do these numbers men?
APPLEBAUM:: Those numbers you have to be very careful with because, in fact, the camp system was in constant flux. People were -- there were waves of arrests and then waves of releases. People were released for all kinds of reasons. They were released into the Red Army during the war. They were released because the system decided it had too many people, so it let pregnant women out, or there were various reasons.

Those numbers represent the average -- well, the official total number of people in camps in that particular year, on January the 1st of that particular year.

If you add up all together the number of people who were in the camps at one point or another, you get much higher numbers. You get 15 million, 18 million.
LAMB:: And there were different years where it -- they changed. I mean, you show in your book that more people went through than other years. What -- what were the different -- over those years, from 1929 up through 1950 -- well, all the way up through the `80s, what were the big years and why?
APPLEBAUM:: There were some big years in the early `30s, when this wave of peasants came into the camps. There was another spike in 1937. This was the year of the so-called "great purge," when Stalin began -- Stalin and his henchmen began arresting high party members. And there was an enormous wave just after the war. And after the war, you had pouring into the camps -- you had people from the territories that the Soviet Union had conquered. You had Russians who`d fought in the West being arrested upon their return to Russia, Soviet citizens being -- returning to the Soviet Union. You had enormous new categories of prisoners in those years. Nineteen forty-eight is another year when Stalin once again began to -- after a kind of -- there was a sort of slightly looser feeling after the war. He once again clamped down, and that was another year of mass arrests.

It was -- it was connected to ideology. It was connected to international politics, the waves of arrests.
LAMB:: How many people did you talk to that had actually been in the camps?
APPLEBAUM:: I did formal interviews of about 30 people, meaning that I sat down with them for several hours and recorded interviews. I probably talked to twice that number. I mean, I`ve met maybe 50, 60, 70 people because I met people all over the place who had some experience or who, if they hadn`t been specifically in camps, had been in exile, which was another way of -- another form of mass repression and punishment. So many people -- I met people in other countries, too, who had been in the Soviet system -- Hungarians, Poles who`d been in the Soviet camps.
LAMB:: Picking an interesting one and tell us the story.
APPLEBAUM:: Suzanna Pichora (ph) is a woman who had -- was very unusual in the Soviet Union in that she was actually part of a very small, very amateurish but very authentic anti-Stalinist group. There was virtually no opposition in the Soviet Union. There was no mass opposition until much later on. And in Stalin`s era, there was nothing.

She, together with a little group of school friends, who were sort of 17, 18, founded a little what they thought of as a kind of revolutionary group. There were -- there were a few. Then they established a kind of system where -- of secrecy, and they had meetings. I don`t think they did very much. But one of them betrayed the whole group to the secret police, and they were all arrested. They were sent all over the Soviet Union. One or two of them were -- were executed. She was sent to the far north, to one of the most difficult camps.

What`s amazing about Suzanna Pichora is that she never lost her energy or her enthusiasm or her belief that the Soviet system was wrong. You know, they didn`t beat it out of her. She never had any difficulty afterwards talking about what had happened. As soon as it became possible in the 1980s, she became one of the founders of Memorial, which was -- well, and is today the only organization that is truly preoccupied with the history of the camps and the history of Stalinism in Russia.
LAMB:: Where does she live?
APPLEBAUM:: She now lives in Moscow.
LAMB:: How long was she in the gulag?
APPLEBAUM:: She was not in very long because she was arrested late. It was in the `50s. She was actually in camps for, I think, five, six years.
LAMB:: What was the experience for her like?
APPLEBAUM:: It was -- you know, I think one of the things she said to me was she was very young. And in that sense, she -- she was -- for example, before she was in the camps, she was in prison for a long time. And she said to me, You know, when you`re a young person, you don`t have resources to draw on. You don`t have memories. You don`t have things to think about. And so for her, it was -- it was an experience of -- you know, solitary was -- you know, she had to -- she had to -- she had to sort of figure out who she was and come up with things to think of and -- and tell herself stories.

It was an -- I suppose it was an -- it -- it -- it was an experience that, I suppose, could have -- it made her more of what she was, I suppose. It made her -- she was -- she knew there was something -- she sensed there was something wrong with the system, and it made her moreso. It gave her a kind of conviction.
LAMB:: You talk in your introduction about walking across the Charles bridge in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and seeing something that really led to this book. What was it?
APPLEBAUM:: It`s not the only thing that led to the book, but I saw people selling little Lenin and Stalin pins, and I saw lots of foreign tourists buying them. They were the sort of kind of communist bric-a-brac that used to be available quite easily in the Soviet Union -- you know, sort of Red Army caps with stars on them and belts and army belts and little pins and -- with pictures of Lenin and Stalin. And I just looked at that, and I thought, you know, if this -- if these were -- if this was Nazi memorabilia for sale, nobody would buy it. And it was that sort of -- that`s an -- that`s an incident that I use as a representative of other experiences I`ve had that have led me to realize that the experience of the gulag doesn`t have the same significance for us in the West, or really, in some -- in some cases, any significance for us, that the Nazi experience had. And there are good reasons for that. But it led me to become intrigued with the subject and -- and follow it further.
LAMB:: Why were you in that part of the world, in the first place?
APPLEBAUM:: I was -- spent a long time in that part of the world. I was originally -- my -- the first thing I did as a grown-up was to go to Warsaw and be the Warsaw correspondent for "The Economist."
LAMB:: What year?
APPLEBAUM:: And that was in 1989.
LAMB:: Where had you been before that?
APPLEBAUM:: I had been in university in England.
LAMB:: Where?
APPLEBAUM:: At Oxford.
LAMB:: And why did you choose to work for "The Economist" and go to Warsaw? What was that all about?
APPLEBAUM:: I had studied Russian in college. I had been to Eastern Europe a couple of times. I was actually involved with a group that was helping to fund some of the dissident movements in Warsaw, and at one...
LAMB:: Name the group.
APPLEBAUM:: It doesn`t have a name. I mean, it was a -- it was -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) out of England. It was -- I mean, it`s not a secret anymore, but it was -- it was just sort of sympathizers with the dissident movement.
LAMB:: How did you get involved with the group?
APPLEBAUM:: It was run by a group of Oxford students, really. One of them was a friend of mine who was all involved in the -- in Poland, in particular. And he asked me if I`d like to go at one time and bring money to some of the people. And I did it.
LAMB:: And what was that whole experience like? How long did it last?
APPLEBAUM:: Not long. I mean, I -- I wasn`t -- this wasn`t until about 1988, which was really the end, and everything was already falling apart. And so -- and I just went back and forth a couple of times.
LAMB:: So then this book, several years later, though, was the result of what? What new information did you get?
APPLEBAUM:: My book?
LAMB:: Your book.
APPLEBAUM:: Yes. My book I began a few years after that. I mean, I didn`t really begin working on it until much -- towards the end of the `90s. And by that time, there was a tremendous amount of information available. Most importantly, the Soviet archives are open. They`re not all open. There`s probably still a lot of personal information on Stalin and the leadership that`s not open. But there`s a tremendous amount that is open, and there are a tremendous number of people, particularly in Russia, who`ve been working on it. And that was -- that`s all new.
LAMB:: Did you live in the Soviet Union?
APPLEBAUM:: I didn`t live -- by the time I was doing it, it was Russia, not the Soviet Union. I didn`t live there. I lived in Warsaw, and I went back and forth. I would spend a month here and a month there and go back and forth.
LAMB:: I know from our previous interview we had that you married someone from Poland who was in the...
APPLEBAUM:: I did.
LAMB:: ... in the government.
APPLEBAUM:: I did. He was -- he was -- that`s why I was in Warsaw, actually, for the last few years. So I was -- I was married to him and...
LAMB:: And what -- what did he do in the Polish government?
APPLEBAUM:: He was the deputy foreign minister.
LAMB:: And what does he do today?
APPLEBAUM:: He`s at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
LAMB:: And so we go back to the basics here. You cite in your introduction that the American left has basically ignored a lot of what Stalin or Khrushchev or that whole Soviet system generated.
APPLEBAUM:: A part of the American left. I don`t think all of the American left. It`s not fair to say. Also, of course, it`s been different at different times in history. And right now, it`s probably pretty hard to find anybody even on the far left who`s -- who would think that the Soviet Union was a nice place. I mean, you do meet one or two that -- but yes, there is a long history of if not exactly covering up Stalinist crimes, then wanting to downplay them. Really, you know, it was -- it wasn`t so much this -- in this country, Stalinists versus -- pro-Stalinists versus anti-Stalinists, but rather people who were very anti-Stalinist against people who were nervous about America`s role in the cold war and never wanted to play up Soviet crimes because that would somehow justify America`s role in the cold war. And it really became -- the whole subject of the Soviet Union became politicized, and the study of the history of the Soviet Union became politicized, which made it -- was another reason why it was so difficult to write in the past and is so much easier to write now.
LAMB:: Why did the gulag start in the first place? And who started it?
APPLEBAUM:: The gulag began in 19 -- well, the first camps were founded directly after the Bolshevik revolution by Lenin, under his order. He and Trotsky ordered the setting up of camps for enemies, enemies of the people and people who were in the way of the revolution. This was right at the beginning, in 1918.

There were camps for enemies of various kinds throughout the 1920s. In 1929, however, Stalin took a decision to expand the camp system and to make it a far more important part of the Soviet economy. And he -- he -- he began to use the camps for particular economic goals -- you know, to dig the White Sea canal or to dig for coal in the far north. And it was particularly used in bits of the Soviet Union that were almost uninhabitable, the very, very far north and the deserts, where prison labor -- you didn`t have to entice people to go there. Prisoners could be forced to go there and work.
LAMB:: Why were people picked to go to the camps, in the first place?
APPLEBAUM:: Well, people were arrested.
LAMB:: For what?
APPLEBAUM:: Well, the gulag was partly for political prisoners. And by political prisoners in the Soviet Union, I mean people who were arrested on spurious political charges 99 percent of the time. So they would be -- they would tell a joke about Stalin, and then they would be arrested for being counterrevolutionaries. Or their neighbor, you know, wanted to get hold of their apartment, so the neighbor would accuse them of having -- of committing treason, and then they would be arrested for treason.

Throughout the `30s and `40s, there was a sort of -- a climate of paranoia and unreasonability that`s difficult to explain today, where crossing any line or being thought to have crossed any line, criticizing the authorities in any way, could result in a camp sentence. There were also criminals in the camps. There was also a third category of prisoner. The Soviet Union had very, very strict work laws. So if you were late to work too many times, you could be arrested. And this was particularly true during the war. If you switched your place of work without telling the authorities, you could be arrested. And there were people sent to the camps for those kinds of reasons, too. There was an extremely wide range of people there from all social classes, all walks of life.
LAMB:: Of the 400-some camps that you mentioned, where were they located in the country? You say were are 12 time zones in the Soviet Union.
APPLEBAUM:: They were everywhere. There were camps in Moscow. After the war, large parts of Moscow were built and rebuilt by prisoners. There were camps all over the far north, where there oil mines -- oil wheels -- oil field and coal mines. Pretty much every major city had a camp. Pretty much every province had a camp or a group of prisons. It would have been hard to live your life in the Soviet Union, to go through daily life, and not be aware of the camps.
LAMB:: How big were the camps?
APPLEBAUM:: They varied tremendously. There were some sort of industrial-sized camps which contained tens of thousands of people. There were some very small ones connected to particular factories or particular workshops that might just be a few dozen people.
LAMB:: Give us, if you can, an example -- and take somebody through the whole process of who was arrested, how were they dealt with then, how did they get to the camps? And once they got to the camps, what was their life like? Can you think of anybody that you talked to?
APPLEBAUM:: Well, here`s a person who`ll be interesting to this audience, I think, who I didn`t speak to but who wrote a very, very good autobiography. And he`s somebody called Alexander Dolgren (ph), and he was an American who worked for the American embassy in Moscow, who was picked up off the street in 1946. He was very young. He was in his 20s. And he was a sort of very high-spirited young man who used to steal his superiors` cars, drive around Moscow, pick up girls, and so on. And because of this, the KGB suspected that he was, in fact, more senior than his post -- he was a clerk -- would otherwise have indicated, and they thought he was a spy.
LAMB:: Let me interrupt just a second. In 1946, what was the atmosphere and the relationship between the Soviets and the Americans?
APPLEBAUM:: This was just the very beginning of the cold war.
LAMB:: World War II`s over.
APPLEBAUM:: World War II is over. The cold war is beginning, and the alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union that had lasted through the war was beginning to freeze as the Soviet Union was -- had marched into Eastern Europe and appeared now to be staying, as it opposed America in various other places. It has to be said that the Soviet hysteria and fear of Americans who lived in their country never ended during the war, even during the alliance, even when we were allies. But after the war, that paranoia became much sharper and harsher.

So this was -- Alexander Dolgren was a -- he was a young man, and he was picked up off the street. He was walking down the street and someone said, Hey, Alexander, and he turned around and someone said, Come here with me. And he was pulled into a car and driven away. He never had time to talk to his embassy. He never had time to tell anybody where he was going. He just disappeared.

He was taken immediately to one of Moscow`s harshest prisons, where he was interrogated for several months. His experience was in some ways unusual because he was arrested -- he was genuinely thought to be a spy and that they thought he really might be a spy. So he was interrogated with great seriousness. And he was beaten and he was -- he was kept up all night. He was not allowed to sleep. He was -- he was tortured during interrogation.

At other times, people were arrested -- in times of mass arrest, often it was very perfunctory. People would just be arrested, stamped (ph), sent away without much investigation.

He was arrested. He was then put on a train, and these trains were -- there were several different kinds of trains, but these -- the most common kind of train was really just a cattle car. It was an empty boxcar. They would put 30 men in the car. There would be a hole in the bottom of the car to use as a toilet. They would be given virtually no food except for dry bread and salt fish. The great torment of the -- of the transport was actually that they were given very little water. So he was taken -- very little food, very little water. And he was taken to Kolima (ph), which was in the very, very far east of the Soviet Union. It`s on the Pacific coast, and it also happens to be a place where there are gold mines, as well as uranium and all kinds of other minerals. So he was taken there.

As far as I recall, he was -- he was there -- he was there for a good decade because he was there until well after Stalin`s death.
LAMB:: Let me ask you about a couple of things. And this is -- this is not a pleasant subject, but it -- you write about it in your book. The hole in the car, you say, would become frozen if it were a cold part of the winter, and eight months -- or ten months of the year often is freezing. And so they couldn`t use the hole to relieve their waste. And so what would happen in these cars, if they were in there for days?
APPLEBAUM:: Well, they would chip other holes. They would use -- they would use somebody`s shirt.
LAMB:: And it`s -- and how often, when they were transporting people to the gulags, were there men and women and children in these cars together?
APPLEBAUM:: There were in the -- not in the -- not the prisoners being taken to camps, but there were mixed carriages of people who were being deported. This is another category of arrest because you could be arrested and sent to a camp, or you could be arrested and sent to live in an exile village. And the cars to the exile villages were full of men and women and children. And these were particularly horrific because...
LAMB:: Why?
APPLEBAUM:: Small children got sick. They were unable to get aspirin. They got high fevers. They died. Old people were unable to walk. They were incontinent, and they died.
LAMB:: When they were in one of these cars and people did die in the cars, what would they do with the bodies?
APPLEBAUM:: The bodies would be taken out and buried or left by the side of the train tracks.
LAMB:: Was there ever a time when they just stacked them up in the cars themselves?
APPLEBAUM:: I`m sure there were. I`m not sure I`ve read a memoir describing that.
LAMB:: At one point, you describe in one of these stories where the men would -- I can`t even describe it -- where you would -- in order to stack them in there, they would put their back against the wall and spread their legs...
APPLEBAUM:: Oh, that was...
LAMB:: ... and then the next person would sit...
APPLEBAUM:: That was to get people in the trucks to -- that was to get -- yes, to get people into the trucks to go to the train station. To get so many people in, they would make the men sit with their legs apart, and each sat one in front of the other, so that -- like sardines. They would be all lined up to get more people into a small space. I`m not sure they actually transported people for days and days like that, but that was -- that was a method of getting lots of people into a truck to take them to the train station. So you could be there for a couple of days.
LAMB:: How did you get... (CROSSTALK)
LAMB:: ... Alexander Dolgren`s story?
APPLEBAUM:: He wrote memoirs which were actually published in this country 20 years ago.
LAMB:: And that`s another part of this book. You got to a lot of them that haven`t been published.
APPLEBAUM:: There are a lot that haven`t been published. There are a lot that exist only in foreign languages. I read Polish, as well as Russian, and there are Polish and Russian memoirs that haven`t been translated.
LAMB:: Where do you find them?
APPLEBAUM:: There are different people who collect them. In Moscow, there are a couple of sort of private libraries. One run by -- by this organization Memorial collects memoirs. People gave them to me. I traveled around the country a lot. I was often given memoirs either by people I met, or there would be a local group -- well, local Memorial group who would give me the local memoirs. There are little local libraries that have them.
LAMB:: You cite Alexander Solzhenitsyn`s "Gulag Archipelago," 1962?
APPLEBAUM:: It`s `72.
LAMB:: It`s `72. What`s in your book that wasn`t in his, for instance?
APPLEBAUM:: The archives are the main difference. I mean, he also had many memoirs. I probably have a wider range of memoirs because more are available now than they were to him. The big difference is that I am able to use both memoirs and archives, so that I can show what the official line was, as well as, oh, what people were experiencing. It makes my book a different kind of book. I don`t know that it`s better or more valuable, but it`s a -- it`s -- it shows other facets of life that he was unable to show.

The importance of his book was really the timing of it and the monumentality of it, that it was -- it was produced at a time when the Soviet Union was still closed, when few people in the West really knew the story. And it was eye-opening for millions of people. My book is not that because we do know this story already, but it does contain material and points of view that he wouldn`t have been able to have.
LAMB:: And how did he publish his book?
APPLEBAUM:: Well, he didn`t publish it in Russia. It was published in the West.
LAMB:: But I mean, how`d that happen?
APPLEBAUM:: It was smuggled out, and it was published in the West in the `70s in three parts. And it was not published in the Soviet Union until the late 1980s, after Gorbachev`s glasnost.
LAMB:: And when did he leave the Soviet Union?
APPLEBAUM:: He was expelled. He was actually kicked out of the Soviet Union for writing the gulag book. I think it was 1976.
LAMB:: And then he went back.
APPLEBAUM:: He went back recently. He went back in the last few years, and he lives there now.
LAMB:: When the -- there are two numbers that I remember from your book, 18 million and 6 million -- 6 million being the special exiles...
APPLEBAUM:: The deportees, yes.
LAMB:: What`s the difference? And I know these numbers are huge and...
APPLEBAUM:: Yes. Eighteen million is my guess, really, of how many people went through the camp system between 1918 and the end of the Soviet Union. And that takes into account the numbers that we were talking about before, the yearly numbers, as well as -- it counts for -- accounting for turnover. The six million number is the -- is actually quite a good number, with lots of archival evidence behind it, which is how many people were deported. That means people who were arrested and sent to exile communities.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) either by people I met or there would be a local group, a local memorial group who would give me the local memoirs. There are little local libraries that have them.
LAMB:: You cite Alexander Soljenitsin`s Gulag Archipelago 1962.
APPLEBAUM:: `72.
LAMB:: `72. What in your book wasn`t in his, for instance?
APPLEBAUM:: The archives are the main difference. I mean he also had many memoirs. I probably have a wider range of memoirs because more are available now than they were to him. The big difference is that I am able to use both memoirs and archives so that I can show what the official line was as well as what people are experiencing.

It makes my book a different kind of book. I don`t know that it`s better or more valuable but it shows other facets of life that he was unable to show.

The importance of his book was really the timing of it and the monumentality of it that it was produced at a time when the Soviet Union when still closed, when few people in the West really knew the story and it was eye opening for millions of people.

My book is not that because we do know the story already but it does contain material and points of view that he wouldn`t have been able to have.
LAMB:: And how did he publish his book?
APPLEBAUM:: Well, he didn`t publish it in Russia. It was published in the West.
LAMB:: But I mean how did that happen?
APPLEBAUM:: It was smuggled out and it was published in the West in the `70s in three parts, and it was not published in the Soviet Union until the late 1980s after Gorbachev`s Glasnost.
LAMB:: And when did he leave the Soviet Union?
APPLEBAUM:: He was expelled. He was actually kicked out of the Soviet Union for writing the Gulag book. I think it was 1976.
LAMB:: And then he went back?
APPLEBAUM:: He went back recently. He went back in the last years and he lives there now.
LAMB:: There are two numbers that I remember from your book, 18 million and six million, the six million being the special exiles.
APPLEBAUM:: The deportees, yes.
LAMB:: What`s the difference? I know these numbers are huge.
APPLEBAUM:: Yes, 18 million is my guess really at how many went through the camp system between 1918 and the end of the Soviet Union and that takes into account the numbers that we were talking about before, the yearly numbers as well as accounts for accounting for turnover.

The six million number is actually quite a good number with lots of archival evidence behind it, which is how many people were deported. That means people who were arrested and sent to exile communities. They weren`t put to camps. They were sent to distant villages in the far north or in the Kazak desert to live and this included the Chechens.

Pretty much the entire Chechen nation was deported during the war. Stalin thought they were an enemy nation. There were several other nations like this, the Crimean Tartars, the Volga Germans who had been the Volga.

This included the Kulaks which these are the peasants who came from the collective ice farms in the early 1930s, late 1920s, who were removed from their farms and sent away because it was felt that they were hampering the progress of collective agriculture.

And the process of the deportation was in some ways almost as horrific as being sent to a camp because you were put in a village and you were not given any food or any money and sometimes there wasn`t even a village there. You were told to build it and it was a very isolated place where you knew nobody and many people died there as well.
LAMB:: What did they think they were getting out of this, all these leaders over the years?
APPLEBAUM:: Stalin believed very deeply, and there`s a lot of evidence for this, that the camps were economically productive and that he was making money out of them and he retained until the very end of his life in fascination with how much gold they were producing, how much oil they were producing, how much he was getting out of them.

There`s of course now lots of evidence that shows that precisely the opposite was true. The camps were not productive. They were determined (UNINTELLIGIBLE). They were very badly run.

When you have prison labor instead of specialists you don`t - you aren`t able to run. These were very sophisticated enterprises, coal mines and chemical factories, because they were run effectively by slave laborers they tended not to be run particularly well.

There`s an interesting example which is the city of Vorkuta. This is a coal mining city in the very far north, north of the Arctic Circle. Now, Vorkuta is a city that shouldn`t exist, and when you have that kind of cold climate, somewhere like Canada, what the Canadians would do would be to send in a team of miners. They would work for two weeks this is in the permafrost and then send them home for two weeks and then rotate and send another to do it.

Instead of doing that, instead of running the coal mines, it`s such a terribly unpleasant place to live, Stalin actually built a city north of the Arctic Circle. Heating the city now costs more than the value of the coal that is dug up by the mines there.

It is actually a pointless city. I mean it has a university. It has Kindergartens. This is in a part of the world where it`s dark six months of the year and cold for ten months of the year and snow for eight months of the year.

It was a mis-development of the Soviet Union and it was made possible by slave labor because he could just send prisoners up there, tell them to build a city, and they had to build it.
LAMB:: How many of the people in the Soviet Union knew that these camps existed?
APPLEBAUM:: Everybody.
LAMB:: And how many knew the stories?
APPLEBAUM:: Everybody knew the camps existed. I don`t think - it isn`t like Nazi Germany where there seemed to have been people who genuinely didn`t know. They were so much a part of life and people were so aware of them that they knew.

How many people knew the stunning stories of what happened that it`s harder to say. Certainly Soljenitsin`s book was a revelation to many people in the Soviet Union when it was published in the `70s because people - people in Stalin`s era didn`t necessarily tell their children what had happened.

Even people who`d been in the camps came back and didn`t necessarily tell their families what had happened. People were really afraid to talk to each other.

So, I think probably the answer is that I can`t give you a number but I wouldn`t say that a majority of people knew very much about what had actually happened there.
LAMB:: You`ve got a lot of photographs in the book and I`m just going to hold them up and ask you to tell me what do you see when you see these pictures right here?
APPLEBAUM:: Those are pictures of Polish children. Actually, those are children of deportees. Those are children who were taken from their homes and sent to communities in the far north where, as I`ve just described, they had very little to eat and their parents often died and they were - these pictures were taken at the end of the war, during the war really when the Poles were allowed to go out.
LAMB:: And on the other side?
APPLEBAUM:: On the other side, the picture on the top is a camp maternity hospital. There were babies born in the camps. Men and women were supposed to be kept separate but they weren`t and the men, they were often mixed, either through sloppiness or through the men would actually break into the women`s camps and there were a tremendous number of babies born in the camps and that`s what the top picture is.

The bottom picture is a really extraordinary picture. It may not seem so at first but it was given to me by a woman who worked in a camp orphanage and she gave me this picture as a way of showing me she was defending her job that she had and she said that the children in the orphanage were really very happy and this is their Christmas tree, and see they were decorating a tree so life wasn`t so terribly bad.
LAMB:: This is a picture of -- the cut line says a crowded barracks. Where is that?
APPLEBAUM:: That`s actually a - that`s an interesting picture too. That`s actually a picture from the official NKBD meaning the secret police archives and that was a propaganda picture, so you see everybody in the picture seems to be very well clothed and they`re sitting very neatly and posing for the camera.

If you read accounts of barracks, it was usually far more chaotic than that. There would have been clothes hanging from the ceiling, clothes drying on the beds and so on. But that, I think gives you some idea of how many people were in one place. I think that`s from Vorkuta.
LAMB:: This says a punishment isolator.
APPLEBAUM:: That`s also from Vorkuta. There were, of course, within the camps there were ways of punishing people who disobeyed or who failed to fulfill the norm or who failed to work as hard as they were supposed to work and they would be put into special isolation cells and that`s what that`s a picture of. That`s also from the official archives. Those are - that`s an official picture.
LAMB:: How often were you personally just shocked when you read something?
APPLEBAUM:: You know it`s a funny thing. You become immune to it. You read so many of these stories that you begin, you become very clinical about it and you stop feeling very much. And then suddenly, some story will unexpectedly shock you.

I think the things that were hardest for me were the stories about children, either children whose mothers were suddenly taken away and were left alone in apartments or children who were born in camps. Those are very, very hard stories to read.
LAMB:: The cut line of this picture is if you have your own bowl you get the first portions.
APPLEBAUM:: That`s a quotation from somebody`s memoir. People (UNINTELLIGIBLE) - there was a shortage of everything in camps including silverware and cutlery and bowls and people would make bowls. People would steal bowls. People would share bowls and people either it was considered a great advantage to have your own because then you could go first to the front of the line instead of waiting and begging for somebody else`s bowl.
LAMB:: They surrendered their bronze skin to tattooing and in this way gradually satisfied their artistic, their erotic, and even their moral needs.
APPLEBAUM:: That`s another quotation from a memoir and that is a photograph of a criminal, somebody who was part of the professional criminal gangs that were very influential and important in the camps, and their bodies were often completely covered with tattoos, and that`s a doctor examining a prisoner with a tattoo.
LAMB:: What about the picture on the other side of the shower?
APPLEBAUM:: The picture on the shower is the camp baths. Again, that`s a relatively - compared to some of the descriptions of the baths that`s not such a bad picture. They don`t look - it`s not very crowded but the baths were really just rooms with bowls of water on the floor and they would have to wash themselves using those.
LAMB:: This picture it looks like all men sleeping in a barracks type thing, what is this?
APPLEBAUM:: That`s actually a hospital. Those would be - those were sick men and, again, these are all official photographs taken by the secret police and kept in secret police archives until recently.
LAMB:: Where did you find them?
APPLEBAUM:: In the secret police archives which are now - actually they`re still there but you can see them now.
LAMB:: Put all this in context with Robert Conquest`s "The Great Terror." Is he still with the Hoover Institution?
APPLEBAUM:: He is.
LAMB:: And they helped pay for your book?
APPLEBAUM:: No, they gave me a fellowship. I spent a month there. I used their archives for a month.
LAMB:: And you got a fellowship from Bradley and a fellowship from Owens (ph)?
APPLEBAUM:: Yes, these are all very small fellowships, but yes little bits of money.
LAMB:: But he says on the back flap, he says Anne Applebaum`s work is very human, very readable, both rich in detail and highly impressive. As an overview of the huge and dreadful Gulag phenomenon the astonishing story comes alive in a new way, deep feeling combining with deep understanding. How important is he to our knowledge of this whole story?
APPLEBAUM:: He`s very important. He was really - he`s really the pioneer. He didn`t write directly about the camps. What he wrote about was Stalin`s purge of his own party in 1937. That was his great book. It`s called "The Great Terror." He was really the first western historian to focus so sharply on the issue of Soviet repression and he did so at a time when the rest of the academic community was not so interested in the subject.

I can even remember being at Yale in the 1980s and even then, this is in the early `80s, Robert Conquest was considered a little bit iffy. He wasn`t considered a really proper historian because of his obsession with Stalin`s crimes.

He relied very much on, because there were no archives he relied very much on the words of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and he relied very much on accounts of people coming out of the Soviet Union, and this was considered not quite proper history.

As it turned out, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) were right. The stories they told were true but there was another group of historians that preferred to use official Soviet sources, meaning Soviet newspapers or books that were officially published to tell the history of the Soviet Union and he simply didn`t believe those sources and he believed the personal accounts and that was why he was so important.
LAMB:: You tell a story, on page 441, about a man named Henry Wallace who was the - was he the only American to visit a Gulag?
APPLEBAUM:: I don`t know if he was the only American. There would have probably been other Americans. There might have been other official visits.
LAMB:: You say he is the senior American politician to visit a Gulag for the first and only time.
APPLEBAUM:: He was certainly the only person at that time. He was actually the vice president of the United States when he went to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) which was the most, the harshest camp.
LAMB:: And it was May of 1944. The war was still going on.
APPLEBAUM:: May, 1944, the war was still going on. We were allied of the Soviet Union and he was completely taken in by what he saw. He believed that he was visiting something like an industrial enterprise. Local party workers were dressed up as miners so that he would see them working in the mines rather than emaciated prisoners.
LAMB:: You say that, and you write the American press want to describe Stalin as Uncle Joe.
APPLEBAUM:: Right. That was correct.
LAMB:: Why would they do that?
APPLEBAUM:: Because they were our allies in this war against Hitler.
LAMB:: Did we think we liked him?
APPLEBAUM:: Oh, we liked him. Roosevelt was attracted to Stalin. Roosevelt felt that Stalin was a kindred spirit and he even saw Stalin, you know, the United States and the Soviet Union are new countries so we together are, you know, defeating this old Europe of aristocracies and this old - we are the new countries, the countries of the future.
LAMB:: Let me read what you wrote about Henry Wallace. You say: "In Kolema (ph) he saw all of his prejudice confirmed. As soon as he arrived he saw the many parallels between Russia and the United States. Both were great `new countries` carrying none of the aristocratic baggage of the European past.

He believed, as he told his host, that Soviet Asia was, in fact, the wild west of Russia. He thought that there were no other two countries more alike than the Soviet Union and the United States. The very expanses of your country are virgin forest, wide rivers, large lakes, all kind of climate from tropical to polar, inexhaustible wealth remind me of my homeland."

There was other stuff. He says he recalled big, husky young men, free workers who were far harder working than the political prisoners whom he supposed that inhabited the far north in Czarist (ph) times. Why was he, I guess the word is buffaloed?
APPLEBAUM:: He was really comprehensively taken in. I think he later - he later took some of that back when he realized what had happened. But he felt he was visiting our ally during the war. He was visiting their great industrial enterprise, the gold fields, and the Soviets put on an immense show for him.

I mean there are actually Soviet archives now describing this visit and they put an enormous effort on. They put hundreds of people into making sure that everything he saw was kosher, that everything that he saw only the absolute best. He was treated to amazing meals. He was given the tour by Nikichov (ph) who was the secret police chief commander of that particular camp whom I think Wallace described as something like a CEO.

He didn`t understand who it was that he was meeting and he was simply given false information from the beginning to the end, and every step of the way reports about his progress and what he`d seen and done were sent back to Moscow and are now in the archives.
LAMB:: You talk about why we should care about any of this several times including a reference to the current President Putin and, correct me if I`m wrong, did you say he was a Cheka?
APPLEBAUM:: He was - Putin was a member of the secret police which was later called the KGB as we know, and the old name, the Leninist era name for the KGB is the Cheka and Putin has described himself as a Chekist which is an old-fashioned word for secret policeman.
LAMB:: What does that mean to you?
APPLEBAUM:: The first time I heard him say it, it filled me with horror. I mean it`s like somebody saying and I was a member of the - I was a brown shirt. I mean it has very unpleasant connotations.
LAMB:: Why do you think he says it?
APPLEBAUM:: He says it because it gives him an aura of invincibility. We are the superior power. You know we were the people behind the scenes who were running the old Soviet Union. The term still commands. I shouldn`t hide this. I mean it commands a certain amount of respect in Russia.

I think a poll was done very recently saying some 60 or 70 percent of Russians still think Lenin was a great man and contributed to their country. So, he`s echoing sort of the kind of respect for the Russian Revolution and what it achieved or didn`t achieve.
LAMB:: The day that we`re recording this, I read in "The New York Times" a story about Saddam Hussein read just like this. The list that they had, the kind of people that they put away, the torturing that went on, how much of this is still going on around the world?
APPLEBAUM:: I would say a great deal. The Stalinist regime, and later he Khrushchevite and Brezhnevite regimes in the Soviet Union actually spread their technique and they taught people around the world how to run police states. I have no doubt that they were from East German usually. They used the East Germans to do it.

Saddam Hussein`s police state was probably set up at some point with Russian or Soviet advice. It is not an accident that so many of these systems share so much in common. I mean there was a set of techniques. They were deliberately spread. The way the Soviet camp was exported to China, the Chinese exported it to North Korea. The North Korean Gulag, the North Korean concentration camps that exist today sound from what little we know of them very like Stalin`s Gulag.
LAMB:: Do you have any accounting of how many people were murdered in that whole run from 19, well 17 all the way up to Gorbachev?
APPLEBAUM:: That`s a hard number because you have to ask - I have to know what you mean by that and that murdered during the revolution, the civil war, during the famine. There was an enormous famine in the 1930s that was partly caused or 99 percent caused by Stalin`s agricultural policies.

I mean if you add all the many ways in which, as Bob Conquest used to say, people died a natural death, you don`t get an exact number but you do get something between 15 an 20 million.
LAMB:: And is there any account that you`ve seen of why people thought it was all right to just take people out and shoot them?
APPLEBAUM:: They believed - there were people - well, some people were following orders. Some people believed they were creating paradise on earth. I mean you can`t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

You can`t get to the perfect society without eliminating the enemies and that`s what they believed they were doing. You have to be very careful making judgments about why people did what they did because you have to go back and try and read their minds and it`s difficult.
LAMB:: You have some other pictures in here. This is from 1950 and it`s a picture of some guards and you say that written in the corner is the word "killers."
APPLEBAUM:: Yes. That was - it was a picture that somehow somebody who was in a camp got hold of and she brought that picture back and that`s from her collection that she then gave to the memorial in Moscow.
LAMB:: What did she mean by killers?
APPLEBAUM:: Well, those were the people who ran the camp that she was in and many people died in that camp.
LAMB:: And did they have a system inside the camps where they would punish you for something that you did wrong and what would that have to be?
APPLEBAUM:: You mean where prisoners were punished?
LAMB:: Yes. You know you had to do something wrong like you`ve told a joke about Stalin and you went off to a camp. Then once you got in the camp what did you do that then got you further punished or put in isolation?
APPLEBAUM:: It was often if you didn`t - if you refused to work that was the primary one, if you disobeyed the guards, if you attempted to escape, if you broke one of the myriad rules, if you were - I mean it was a - there are all kinds of things that were illegal, male/female fraternization was illegal, many, many - there were many, many things that could get you into a prison cell.
LAMB:: There`s a picture right below it, anything?
APPLEBAUM:: Those are the armed guards. The armed guards were not part of the camp hierarchy in that they were not secret policemen. They tended to be sort of more like - they were often soldiers recruited. They were very young and they ranged enormously in their personality.

I mean some of them helped prisoners. Some of them didn`t. Most of them, probably 95 percent of them were indifferent, and they were the ones who walked around the rim of the camp and made sure nobody escaped.
LAMB:: Here`s a picture of Stalin and Jagoda (ph). Stalin himself supposedly is 5`1". How tall was Jagoda?
APPLEBAUM:: Jagoda was - they called him "the dwarf." I can`t remember his exact height but he was very short.
LAMB:: Who was he?
APPLEBAUM:: He was the head of the secret police who was then called the OGPU at the very beginning of the camp system and he - the picture is taken at the White Sea Canal which is one of the first big gulag projects.
LAMB:: What was the biggest project that the gulags ever conducted? I mean they built things. I remember one is was it the White Sea Project that was 170,000 people involved in it?
APPLEBAUM:: Yes, well the White Sea was the first big early project and it got the most publicity. There were many other enormous later projects. There were - the gulag laid most of the rail lines across the Soviet Union, across Siberia. They built the roads across Siberia. They built - they dug the coal mines in Kolema. They dug the coal mines and gold mines in Forkuta (ph). There were enormous projects.
LAMB:: OK, how many of these camps are still left as museums, any?
APPLEBAUM:: One.
LAMB:: One out of all these camps?
APPLEBAUM:: One and it`s not even one of the - it`s not one of the harshest camps. It`s one (UNINTELLIGIBLE) which is one part of one camp called Term 36, which was actually a camp that came to prominence in the 1980s as the sort of place where dissidents were kept, has been turned into a museum by some local people.
LAMB:: Did you go there?
APPLEBAUM:: I have been there.
LAMB:: What do you see when you go there and where is it?
APPLEBAUM:: It`s perm is in sort of at the foot of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right in the middle of Russia and you see the barracks. You see the fence. You see the place where people went in and out.

I should say that in many other places where there have been camps, I mean in Vorkuta where I`ve also been, the coal mines which were all built by prisoners are all still there and there are still coal mines. You can visit them and you can see the places. There`s a barrack or two left. They`re not museums but because they were working industrial enterprises they`re still there.
LAMB:: At another point in the book you talk about the fact that of the 15 republics of the old Soviet System, 13 of them today are run by former communists.
APPLEBAUM:: It may be a little different now but when I wrote the book it was that. Yes.
LAMB:: What does that mean to you?
APPLEBAUM:: It means that the old, the communist apparatus retained an enormous amount of power even after the end of the communist system. They had all the economic power. They`ve had a tremendous amount of influence and they were able to turn their economic power sometimes after hiatus when a dissident or opposition group took over back into political power again. That really has been true almost everywhere.
LAMB:: So, after all this time thinking about this, what are you conclusions? What does it mean to the future?
APPLEBAUM:: There are a number of lessons. One is the importance of memory, knowing how the system worked, knowing what pieces, how it was done will help us understand other systems.

I mean I don`t want to be too flippant in talking (UNINTELLIGIBLE) talking about Iraq because it happens to be in the news or North Korea, but it really is true that this kind of system has been created over and over and over again and it`s really terribly important that we study it and we think about it and we compare these different systems, we try and understand how they came into existence, what motivates the people who ran them in order to understand.

And, again, I`m not one of these people who believes you know if we just study it then it will never happen again because it will happen again. It is happening again and it may happen many more times. It`s terribly important that we understand what happened in the past.
LAMB:: What did you learn about the ability of the human being to live through one of these things?
APPLEBAUM:: I learned that there`s no rule about that, that some people, very frivolous, silly people suddenly find in themselves something very powerful that enables them to survive, that very people who seem to be very strong and important in ordinary life are presented with the extreme of the camp situation and they collapse completely, that you never know people as well as you think you know them. People confronted with extreme circumstances, people behave in very unpredictable ways.
LAMB:: So, how long have you worked for the "Washington Post" editorial board?
APPLEBAUM:: Six months.
LAMB:: And how often does this experience that you`ve had come up around that table? How many sit around the table when you talk about issues?
APPLEBAUM:: Eight, well it might be more. Eight members of the board plus a few other people come.
LAMB:: I mean not to overdo this but do people say there she goes again?
APPLEBAUM:: Once in a while. I have to be careful when I bring up Stalin, which as I say funnily enough these kinds of issues about totalitarian regimes how they`re dismantled, how they - what happens to the people who once ran them? I mean you were asking before about former communists who took over communist countries.

I mean this will be an issue in Iraq when we - when the Iraqi government recreates itself what happened to the former leaders of the Ba`athist Party? Will they be in charge again as almost inevitably has happened everywhere else? And, these issues do come up in all kinds of forms at this particular moment.
LAMB:: You had two kids I remember?
APPLEBAUM:: I have two.
LAMB:: How old are they?
APPLEBAUM:: They are two and a half and five and a half.
LAMB:: So they haven`t gotten to this yet?
APPLEBAUM:: No. My oldest child knows that this is my book but he doesn`t understand it. I haven`t tried very hard to explain it to him.
LAMB:: And what kind of person do you expect to read this?
APPLEBAUM:: I think a really wide range of people. I think anybody who`s interested in contemporary history, in the 20th century history rather might be interested. I don`t expect Russian or Soviet specialists to read it. I think it`s - I`ve deliberately written it in such a way that you don`t have to be an expert in order to understand it. I tried to explain some of what was happening in the Soviet Union at the time as kind of background.
LAMB:: Why don`t you expect Soviet specialists to read it?
APPLEBAUM:: Well, no, I mean and I hope they will also read it, but the idea of the book was that it would be accessible to people who don`t have any particular background in Soviet history, although I also hope Soviet specialists will read it and some have and have liked it. So, it`s my hope that they will like it too.
LAMB:: And who is the youngest person still alive today that you talk to that would have been involved in the gulag at any point?
APPLEBAUM:: Well, I mean there were people who were arrested in 1953 and who are 18 who are in their 60s now and who are quite (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and young and energetic.
LAMB:: And you`ve mentioned several times here the memorial society. How active is that? How effective is that in your opinion?
APPLEBAUM:: It`s actually - it had a bigger - it had a bigger presence a few years back. It`s now rather small. It`s largely funded by western foundations. It is a group of people. They do two things. They agitate for human rights in Russia and they also have a sort of unit, a group of people who really specialize in the history of Stalinist crimes.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) they are tremendously good. They have tremendously good historians. They`ve had - they`ve been extremely systematic in their use of the archives. They are really the main resource for the study of this subject of Russia.
LAMB:: Final couple quick questions, hometown originally?
APPLEBAUM:: Washington, D.C.
LAMB:: Parents did what?
APPLEBAUM:: Father is a lawyer. Mother worked in art museums.
LAMB:: Went to undergraduate?
APPLEBAUM:: Yale.
LAMB:: What year did you get out of there?
APPLEBAUM:: 1986.
LAMB:: And you went to Oxford to study what?
APPLEBAUM:: International relations.
LAMB:: And what year did you get out of there?
APPLEBAUM:: Well, I spent a year at the London School of Economics. I had a Marshal Scholarship there and then I was at Oxford. I guess I left in about 1988 to move to Warsaw.
LAMB:: The book is called "Gulag: A History" and our guest has been Anne Applebaum. Thank you very much.
APPLEBAUM:: Thank you.
Copyright National Cable Satellite Corporation 2004. Personal, noncommercial use of this transcript is permitted. No commercial, political or other use may be made of this transcript without the express permission of National Cable Satellite Corporation.